After a blissful week of standardized testing and no classes, the new term started today – and it started with a vengeance.
As soon as the first bell rang, I felt like I was on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
It only took a few minutes for the first fight to break out.
For the rest of the day, the halls looked like an red-ant hill that someone had just kicked in. Trying to clear them, I felt like I’d smeared my naked body with honey and then lowered my ass directly into the swarming cavity.
During my lunch break, I was at my desk trying to figure out what to teach the next day in a subject I’ve never taught before, when a wild-eyed safety agent came in holding a strangely calm girl by the arm.
“Her and her moms just attacked a girl in the hall!”
I glanced over. Hmm, I thought. Her AND her moms just attacked someone in the halls of a school. You don’t hear that every day. Honestly, it wasn’t exactly surprising. But it did make my ears stand up a bit. Of course it’s all just entertainment when you’re not the one on the case, which I wasn’t. Thank God.
I was in the office another time though when a family came in to discuss their daughter’s suspension. It was a mom, an aunt, and a younger daughter. The younger daughter was eleven going on seventeen, obese and glum. She had to go to the bathroom, so she left the office on her own to look for it. As soon as she left, the bell rang for change of periods. A couple minutes later, agents dragged her back through the door kicking and screaming. “This girl just fought one of the Greene sisters!” That was classic. An eleven year old family member, in the building for 3 minutes, gets into a fight.
But back to today’s case: from all the deans, radio chatter, and agents everywhere, the full story began tumbling out on the floor like alphabet blocks.
“They say they here to pick up a transcript and this girl don’t even go here no more. But they walkin’ through the hall and the mom just take off runnin’ down the hall and attack this other girl.”
“That sound like maybe that was planned.”
The girl in question picked up one of the office phones and made a call. “We’re goin’ to jail,” she told the person on the other end of the line. “Mommy hit the girl and she hit mommy, so I hit huh…… She hit my mom! What was I supposed to do? ……….. No, mommy hit her first…………… Just come down here and find mommy. ………… Don’t worry about me. Just get mommy.”
Dean Jake looked at me. “Hey this is yoah side of the office. Why am I takin’ this case?”
“I’m on lunch,” I shrugged.
“She’s not even a student here, right? So why do you have to deal with it?”
“No, she is. Her motha lied. She said that to protect huh. (imitating the mom) ‘Oh she graduated. She don’t go heah no moah.’ Lies!”
I looked back up at the girl. She was standing up now and her wrists were fastened together behind her back in black rubber coated handcuffs. She looked completely calm, like it was just another trip to the precinct.
“Run your finger through her waist band, agent Cole. Hey honey, is there anything in this jacket that’s gonna stick me, poke me, cut me? No? Jacket been searched, Cole.”
I went to the other side of the office to eat a cookie.
The secretary read my mind and gave me a wink. “I just filled the tin, Pistol.”
I clawed out a cookie and tossed the whole thing into my mouth. “Mmmm… dees ahh maa favriii,” I said, spraying the floor with crumbs.
“Who’s that? The other half from that fight?” I asked, gesturing at a girl in one of the side nooks.
“Noooo. That’s anothah one.”
“Uh huh. That one’s yours I guess, Pistol.”
“Jesus Christ. Where are we? Beruit? This has got to be one of the most violent places on the planet.”
Just then, my phone vibrated. It was a text message from one of my oldest and dearest friends. This was the message:
EVERYTHING IS OKAY